Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Nerd stopped nuclear armageddon on a "hunch"

Two decades ago:

Moscow — Just after midnight, in a secret bunker outside Moscow, the warning sirens began to blare. A simple, ominous message flashed on the bunker's main control panel: Missile Attack!

It was no drill. A Soviet satellite had detected five U.S. nuclear missiles inbound.

The control computer ordered a counterstrike, but the bunker commander, a nerdy lieutenant colonel named Stanislav Petrov, acting on a hunch, overrode the computer and told his Kremlin superiors it was a false alarm. The Soviet brass quickly stood down their missiles, saving 100 million Americans from nuclear incineration.



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